Davao has a long history of numerous cultures and beliefs thriving in it, but because the Philippines is a dominantly Catholic country, it doesn’t come as a surprise to find the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague in the city of Davao.
To those who are not entirely familiar with the Catholic religion, the Holy Infant Jesus, more commonly known as the Santo Nino in the Philippines, is one of the most recognized and adored images of the Catholic faith in the country. This well-celebrated religious icon was originally brought by the Spaniards when they first colonized the Cebu islands of the Philippines. Christianity then spread all throughout the country, making it the dominate religion of most Filipinos until today. Since then, Filipinos have showed an unwavering faith and devotion to the child Jesus. It has been a reflection of how strongly devoted Filipinos have become to the Catholic faith.
The Shrine is the perfect place for worship and pilgrimage as it is strategically located on an elevated terrain that adds to the place’s serenity and tranquility. Surrounding the area are rolling grass hills and dozens of decades-old mango trees that make it the perfect place for meditation and self-reflection. Locals favor this place for its peace amidst the hustle and bustle of the city while visitors flock to the shrine to experience a different level of devotion and reflection. Another distinct characteristic of the shrine is its lack of walls. Instead, the shrine of the holy infant Jesus is seen as a chain of open-air chapels amidst an extensive sheet of greenery. This unique environment makes it a great destination for pilgrims who opt for an out-of-the-ordinary itinerary.
The Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague is located at the top of Davao’s Matina Hills, where visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the city’s extensive landscape, neighboring islands and sights that go even beyond it. For these who plan to visit the shrine, take a tricycle from the foot of Matina Hills. Private vehicles can also be a good means of transportation using the same road as the local tricycle or by use of the entry path of the Diversion Road exit. There is no entrance fee but visitors should mind their silence to keep the tranquility. Aside from the Chapels to the Infant Jesus, there is also a chapel of Our Lady of Fatima and the Crucified Christ Chapel. Try to check out their mass schedule if you want to see devotees flock on up the hill. Locals and tourists gather the place during the Holy Week as devotees follow the stations that are systematically located along the path to the chapel.
It doesn’t matter if you are one of the faithful or not: the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague constantly remains one of the top tourist attractions of Davao. The serene and pristine ambiance of the shrine makes it the perfect place for both locals and tourists to take a second and reflect on their busy lives.